North West’s ‘Lion King’ performance criticized for nepotism; Jason Weaver comes to her defense

The 10-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West sparked a social media debate after live performance of “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King."

Kim Kardashian and North West attend The Daily Front Row's Seventh Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at The Beverly Hills Hotel on April 23, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Daily Front Row)

Just like her famous parents, North West is the topic of conversation.  

The 10-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West sparked debate on social media after her live performance of “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” during Disney’s concert production of “The Lion King at the Hollywood Bowl” over Memorial Day weekend. 

Many social media fans criticized her act and called her a “nepo-baby,” a derogatory term for the children or relatives of famous people whose family connections lead to opportunities regardless of talent or merit. Critics argued that North took the role from a more talented child who could have excelled in the “Lion King” classic. 

“I’m sorry but casting North West as Simba when there are hundreds of properly trained theatre kids with voice coaches, dance skills, and experience was a HORRIBLE choice,” wrote one user on X (Twitter). “It definitely makes you question the credibility of the casting director. You let Kim pay to ruin your show.”

Another fan wrote that North was “not good in The Lion King” and “her family/production did her no favors in letting her go on anyway.” “Not all kids are good at all things and they need to be taught that,” the fan said on X. “There were likely dozens of experienced kids that should have been cast.”

One fan acknowledged North’s age, writing that while people may say she’s too young for criticism, that doesn’t apply when she is allegedly taking opportunities from others. 

“Everyone is saying not to be too harsh on her & that’s fair but let’s be very real: there are plenty of talented & hard-working 10-year-olds who deserved this far more than North West, who even looks like she didn’t attend rehearsals,” the user wrote on X. “Nepotism is a mockery to hard-working people.”

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One person who came to North’s defense is Jason Weaver, the original singing voice of Simba in the 1994 animated film, who also sang at the Memorial Day weekend event. The actor, 44, praised North West’s performance, calling her an up-and-coming talent. 

“What an honor it is to share the same stage with this young superstar in the making,” Weaver wrote on his Instagram page on Saturday. “I’m so PROUD you, North!! You’re doing a such PHENOMENAL job in this show!”

Kanye has not commented on the public discourse surrounding his daughter. Mom Kardashian did share a few behind-the-scenes snaps of North backstage at the event on her Instagram Stories, according to CNN.